Sunday, 31 October 2010

The human race - a poem

After my post on solastaglia the other day I was left a comment by Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability at Murdoch University in WA - the man responsible for developing new terminology, such as solastaglia, in order to 'name' what humankind is experiencing in this day and age. I visited his blog and had a bit of a look around (though need more time to really get into it) but it got me thinking about things and one thought led to another and I remembered this poem I wrote many moons ago but is still as relevant now as it was back then:


The human race has been cancelled
due to bad weather, they said.
The old man sitting next to me
looks at the ground and shakes his head.

I look beyond his wrinkled face,
to maybe fifty years ago.
If only they'd had the knowledge
that we, today, now know.

An insight to the damage
they would cause to nature's glory.
Now our kids may never see it,
they'll just hear it in some story.

If only they'd forseen the harm
to land and sea and air.
Today we'd have more to enjoy,
instead we live in quiet despair.

A forest disappears a day,
the ozone can't be mended.
I wonder if they're satisfied,
is this what they intended?

As the old man slowly rises,
as he imitates a smile.
I can see he's wondering to himself,
has it really been worthwile?

- Gabriella Tagliapietra: 13/05/89 -

As this is a place to share creative thoughts and processes I wanted to share that poem because I have used poetry in the past as another way to express myself about things that I am passionate about. Art can be confronting, especially when artists want to shock the audience into pro-actively having an opinion. I know my poem is far from shocking but I just hope it's not too sombre. I guess so far my blogs have been more positive as I feel what I am doing is really rather positive - as is the work of so many other creative souls out there who are a constant source of inspiration :)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Thinking ahead...

Back again! Two posts in one day. Now that I offloaded my thoughts about trees being cut down...(and sorry, I know it was a long post but I felt there were important things to say)...I turned my focus back to creative stuff as it always helps to cheer me up.

Not that I plan on printing new designs anytime soon, but it doesn't mean that I can't plan ahead - first though I do plan on having some new colour-ways done on different base-cloth of my first three designs just to throw more options and variety into the mix. Hopefully that won't be too far off.

One of the reasons that I started creating an illustration library is to be able to draw on this for various end uses...paper products, fabric designs and so on.

I can't help but think that this waratah and the lyrebird design would work really well for textile designs and when I have some spare time I think I'll start mucking around with some repeats...

What do you think? Comments and feedback are always welcome :)

Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change

Today I think I'm suffering with solastaglia - I'm feeling a little flat and almost panicked at the rate which environmental change takes place. Lately I have seen A LOT of trees being cut down in my local area to make way for housing and the like.

Having inherited a nothingness garden, apart from a few established trees, when I bought my home I have since set about establishing native gardens at the front and back and after five years they are really starting to establish themselves. More importantly I see how important these areas have become to local fauna and the like. One day I saw three blue tongue lizards all within the space of half an hour...out sunning themselves in my garden - the cats watch in wonderment...too afraid of their size and hiss to go anywhere near them (different for dogs I'm afraid who kill them regularly - I love dogs but don't one). I have a beautiful family of wattle birds that are just the shape of my heart...I call them the hiccough birds because they sound like they have the hiccoughs all the time. Max, my younger cat and the wattle birds have this amazing relationship...they chase each other for hours on end (one-on-one)'s hillarious to watch and has been going on pretty much ever since he came to live here about four years ago (I rescued him when he was about 7mths old though we'll never know his real age). I also have regular visits by laughing kookaburras and a divine butcher bird who sits at the top of my Norfolk Pine (or neighbouring ones) and sings this enchanting song...not to mention countless other birds like crested pigeons, little wrens and sparrows...oh and a resident willy wagtail or two...

A few months back I had to cut down a large Coastal Banksia as it had reached its life span and opportunistic borers had set in. Mind you I stretched it out as long as I could because I LOVE my two Coastal wasn't until a very large limb snapped off and fell into my neighbours back yard that I knew the time had come to say goodbye...and it was a real loss to me. I also cut down some other straggly smaller trees that were in ill-health too to make way for two new Coastal Banksias and an array of other native shrubs and small trees. I also had the whole lot chipped and the mulch was enough to re-do all my garden beds...very timely too. Since then hundreds of Coastal Banksia seedlings have popped up throughout the garden and soon Hunter Indigenous Plants will come out to collect them.

Anyway, the reason I am feeling a bit down today is that yesterday work started on cutting down yet another tree. It is an Araucaria Heterophylla or in other words a Norfolk Pine...see the outlined figure in the photos...

You think I'd be happy because it has certainly improved my vista...but alas I am not - and see this one in the foreground, it is in my neighbours yard and ear-marked for removal as they plan on demolishing their little weatherboard cottage and building a larger two-storey home. I don't know how long it takes for trees of this size to reach maturity - maybe 30-70 years and along we come and cut them down it just two days. I can't help feeling desperately sad for the birds who use these trees as landmarks on their migratory journeys and often a stray one from a flock with sit atop these trees and call out to find their group again. I hope at the very least they can mulch it which will eventually break down and return to the earth...but it is little compensation...

When I first bought my house I hated my Norfolk Pine and wanted to cut it down too...what was I thinking! I'm so glad I didn't as now it is one of the most treasured trees in my back yard, affording me privacy from the neighbours at the back and providing shelter or a resting place for birds.


I will certainly never voluntarily cut down any tree and sometimes long to live on acreage so I can be surrounded by more nature instead of this increasingly over-crowded built environment where people still seem to lack the full understanding of the devastating impacts that are caused to our native wildlife when trees are cut down. It's funny a year or so ago I was approached to become involved in a pilot project run by our local council (which I do really like by the way for their pro-active approach to being green), however, since the Swansea Heads Sustainable Neighbourhood Group was officially formed I have never seen so many trees being cut down!!! What a joke...must have a word to them about this...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Pieced-Fabric Table Runners

Just a quick update to show two of the pieced-table runners I have completed... I should have really finished all of them by now but I've had one of those set-backs we all dread when my proofs came back from the (paper) printers... so we've been trying to find a solution there but more on that later...

Made up from the 'kangaroo paw' & 'kangaroo grass' prints along with some plain base-cloth and a striped cotton fabric remnant

This shows the detail of the table runner, where I have stitched down seams so they don't misbehave when washed (as it's lined underneath) and also adding extra strength

 This is mostly just made from the 'kangaroo' design and broken up with a strip of the striped cotton remnant fabric that I thought reflected the colours of Australia nicely

 Close-up detail

Monday, 18 October 2010

My wine carrier bags

So here's what I did during Saturday's wild and woolly cold snap windy day...

I stayed indoors and started on some table runners, just have to line them and they'll be ready for sale (images to come once they're complete)... and also the first of the wine carriers I will be making from my fabric. This is in the kangaroo grass print.

With the silly season nearly upon us they're great to give as gifts (with or without wine included)... or to take along to (festive) dinners and lunches - much prettier than a brown paper bag don't you think. Keep a cork or bottle stopper in the bottom and that way if you don't finish the bottle at the restaurant you can discreetly take it home with you :) They have a draw-string opening and a sturdy handle for easy carrying though they're not insulated for the chilled wines...

They'll be available for sale in my online shop and my etsy store just as soon as I have a few more made. Feedback and comments are always welcome...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

2011 A4 Wall Calendar

Here is a look at my 2011 A4 loose-leaf wall calendar:

In keeping with an overall natural world theme, the top of each page has an original line art image depicting Australian flora & fauna - a special thanks to photographer Paul Evans for allowing me to adapt his pygmy possum image. The bottom of each page has the days and dates with ample room in the boxes to write in those special occasions. The moon phases for the southern hemisphere are also included (a northern hemisphere version will be available soon and listed for sale in both my online store and etsy).

These calendars are printed using 10% recycled 200gsm card stock made from sustainably managed forests. Currently there doesn't seem to be 100% recycled card stock available for retail purchase, hopefully this will change in the not-too-distant future. A hole will be punched in at the top for hanging.

The calendars are currently for sale in my online store. Stay tuned for more paper products that will be professionally printed using 100% recycled stock using environmentally friendly methods...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Creating an illustration and design library

So I thought I'd share what I have been working on these past few that it's all coming full circle and my files are off being quoted at the printers.

As I needed some business cards printed my thoughts turned to the paper products that I want as part of my range and I so I started designing them all because I thought it would be sensible to have everything printed in one go.

I won't show the actual products yet but if all goes to plan with the printing there will be a 2011 calendar, greeting cards and notebooks (as well as my business cards and swing tags). I am now gradually building my own library of illustrations and designs that can be used in various ways for various projects. The plan is to work under the umbrella of a Collection called Terra Australis with ranges such as Flora & Fauna and The Great Outdoors...

- canoe -

- row boat -

- wattle -

- waratah -

- kangaroo paw -

- lyrebird -

- pygmy possum - (thanks to photographer Paul Evans for allowing me to adapt his photo)

- dingoes -

- kangaroos -

- gecko -

- kookaburra -

- cockatoo -

- koalas -

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Retail therapy at The Olive Tree Markets

This morning I went along to The Olive Tree Markets and bought some delightful things...mostly to give as gifts. The first find was Anne Rok of rokabella designs (sorry no website to link to), with her handmade ceramic jewellery, art and homewares...and I bought these gorgeous little ceramic dishes...

The top two measure approximately 10cm in diameter and are fairly flat and the bottom two measure approximately 5cm in diameter and about 1.5cm mini bowls. Aren't they just divine! Well done Anne and can't wait to see more of your work next month. For anyone who wants to get in touch with Anne she also takes commissions - her mobile is 0401 505 457 and her email is

The first year of my degree was an introduction to textiles, ceramics and jewellery-making as we were to choose one as a Major in the second year. I have to say it was a real struggle to choose between textiles and ceramics and I was almost going to do a double Major but in the end chose textiles...needless to say I have a weakness for ceramics...not hard when they're this beautiful :)

The next items, from Shelano Australia were first seen by me at The Living Smart Festival a couple of weeks back and this was one of the main reasons I went along to the market purchase some of Vicki's beautiful throws. The throws are made from recycled sari's that are hand-stitched together, no two are the same. They are made in Kolkata, India by young women who struggled to feed and clothe their family. 'Shelano was established out of a desire to bring freedom to these women who have very limited education and are at risk of abuse.' It's helping these women help themselves...for more information go to the Shelano website.

I think I must have been Indian in a past life because their fabrics really strike a chord with me and always have - as does their achitecture, furniture and food. I would love to do a textile tour there one day in the not-too-distant future :)

I very rarely venture into shopping malls anymore, I'm the exception I think when it comes to shopping because women are supposed to love it but I've never been a big consumer. I don't need the latest gadgets to make me happy...I'm happiest when I find something rare, unique or handmade...I'm more an organic and earthy type and love little wonder the above items captured my interest.